Sir Elton John has said he hopes to still meet with Vladimir Putin after a proposed chat between the two to discuss LGBT issues was cancelled.
A Kremlin spokesman announced on Thursday that “no appropriate time” could be found for the meeting.
Performing on Monday before an enthusiastic crowd in Moscow Sir Elton said: “As some of you may know I hoped to meet with President Putin on this trip.
”Although it wasn’t possible, I’m deeply grateful to him for inviting me to discuss some serious issues in Russia including LGBT, HIV and AIDS, and I very much hope we will find time in future to meet.”
He also praised the work of Svetlana Medvedeva, the wife of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, “for helping to raise national awareness about HIV and Aids in recent weeks”.
“This is so necessary – a dialogue of compassion is truly what is needed to end the Aids epidemic.”
Western governments and human rights activists have criticised the Russian authorities for their treatment of gay people, and Sir Elton has previously spoken out against a 2013 law banning the dissemination of “gay propaganda” among young Russians. Putin has said he is not prejudiced against gay people.
He added that he hoped to “be in Russia again” and “be helpful in any way I can in helping to create an Aids-free future for everyone who is infected in Russia”.
Putin called the singer in September to say he’d be willing to meet and talk about any issues that concern him.
His call came after Russian pranksters posing as Putin fooled the musician, prompting him to post an Instagram message thanking the President for calling.
Sir Elton was in Russia to play two performances – at the Ice Palace in St Petersburg and Moscow’s Crocus City Hall – as part of his world tour.